Ecuador: Add to your tour!

Guango Lodge, by participants David & Judy Smith

Guango Lodge, by participants David & Judy Smith

We have a wonderful way to enhance your tour experience to Ecuador! The following optional trips may be added before or after any of our Ecuador tours originating in Quito. If you’ve got the time, it’s a great idea to arrive a day or two early for your Field Guides tour. Quito is situated at an elevation over 9000 feet, and flights from the States often arrive late in the evening, so an extra day can give you the time to relax, rest up, and acclimate a bit to the altitude in advance of the start of your tour. We offer the following one or two day trips — either cultural or birding — for those of you who might like to experience more of this fantastic country. We can book extra nights in Quito for you and you can meet up with the group at the start of your official tour rested and ready to bird! Please feel free to call our office with any questions you may have — we’re happy to help.

Please note: We ask that you send us your preferences for optional day trips as soon as you are able, and no later than 60 days before tour departure. This allows us to work out logistics and make sure all materials get sent out to everyone on time. We want to offer you the best possible service…thanks!

BIRDING DAY TRIPS

Prices valid through 2017 departures.

Sword-billed Hummingbird at Guango, by participant Marbry Hopkins

Sword-billed Hummingbird at Guango, by participant Marbry Hopkins

PAPALLACTA PASS AND GUANGO LODGE (duration 10 hours)

This tour departs early, crossing the central valley en route to the Eastern Andes and stopping to bird some of the best easily-accessible páramo in Ecuador at Papallacta Pass (13,700 ft/4000 m). From here we will descend to the temperate forests near the town of Papallacta and continue a little further to Guango Lodge, where a sit-down, hot meal will be served. The afternoon will be spent birding the hummingbird feeders and mixed flocks at Guango Lodge, which are spectacular: there are 15 regularly visiting species coming to the feeders, including Sword-billed Hummingbird and Mountain Avocetbill. If time allows, we may also bird the trails near the lodge.

Includes: Bilingual bird guide, transportation and lunch at Guango Lodge.

Fee: $420 per person for 1 participant; $270 per person for 2; $225 per person for 3; and $195 per person for 4.

Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, by guide John Rowlett

Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager, by guide John Rowlett

YANACOCHA RESERVE/OLD NONO-MINDO ROAD (duration 10 hours)

Yanacocha lies on the western slope of Volcan Pichincha, opposite Quito, and is a very well preserved temperate humid forest with many exciting species. The hummingbird show is as good as it gets: Great Sapphirewing, Sapphire-vented and Golden-breasted pufflegs, and Rainbow-bearded Thornbill are all regular. Other interesting target birds (among many others!) include Black-chested and Scarlet-belllied mountain-tanagers, Barred Fruiteater, and Ocellated Tapaculo. Black-breasted Puffleg, a rare endemic of the area, might even put in an appearance. Assuming time is on our side, we will bird and explore down the old Nono-Mindo road, where the birding can be excellent.

Includes: Bilingual bird guide, transportation, box lunch and entrance to Yanacocha Reserve.

Fee: $420 per person for 1 participant; $270 per person for 2; $225 per person for 3; and $195 per person for 4.

The hummingbird-viewing porch at Tony & Barbara's house, world-famous for the amazing variety of hummingbirds possible here (photo by guide Richard Webster)

The hummingbird-viewing porch at Tony & Barbara’s house, world-famous for the amazing variety of hummingbirds possible here (photo by guide Richard Webster)

TANDAYAPA VALLEY (duration 10 hours)

This excursion descends the west-slope of the Andes into the Tandayapa Valley. Here fantastic subtropical humid forest lines the road, with overwhelming bird flocks and specialties such as Toucan Barbet and Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan. We will make some key stops along the way, including the well-known hummingbird feeders at Tony and Barbara’s house — the world record-holders for number of hummingbird species in their yard! For the rest of the day we will enjoy the birding and scenery as we work our way slowly down the old Nono-Mindo Road.

Includes: Bilingual bird guide, transportation, box lunch, entrance to Tony‘s feeders.

Fee: $420 per person for 1 participant; $270 per person for 2; $225 per person for 3; and $195 per person for 4.

Antisana looms in this image by guide Mitch Lysinger

Antisana looms in this image by guide Mitch Lysinger.

ANTISANA VOLCANO (duration 10 hours)

The Antisana Reserve is one of the top spots if you want to access Ecuador’s páramo at its best. Aside from some magnificent scenery, (picture snow-capped Antisana Volcano towering above the páramo plains), classic Andean bird species that we often see here include Silvery Grebe, Black-faced Ibis, Andean Condor and Chimborazo Hillstar.

Includes: Bilingual bird guide, transportation and box lunch; see costs below.

Fee: $420 per person for 1 participant; $270 per person for 2; $225 per person for 3; and $195 per person for 4.

BIRDING OVERNIGHT EXTENSIONS

GUANGO AND SAN ISIDRO (two days/one night)
Two full days, with an overnight at Cabanas San Isidro, to bird the páramo and temperate and subtropical forests of Ecuador’s east slope. Please contact our office for pricing.

Now that the new Quito airport has moved east into the central valley, closer to the Amazonian side of things (as well as to some comfortable countryside hostals), Guango Lodge is one of the obvious choices for an overnight (pre-/post-tour) birding getaway. Only about an hour from the new airport, Guango sits up and over the continental divide, right in the heart of the high-elevation temperate zone, and it’s surrounded by beautiful mossy forest with fancy birds. The birding can be excellent at any time of day, especially if you encounter an active mixed flock! Some of the more interesting glamour birds to keep an eye out for around the lodge include Torrent Duck, Gray-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Masked Trogon, Turquoise Jay, Hooded and Lacrimose mountain-tanagers, Slaty Brush-Finch, Gray-hooded Bush-Tanager, and Northern Mountain-Cacique. The hummingbird feeders at Guango Lodge are famous for their diversity and sheer numbers, but the real treat is when the almost unreal Sword-billed Hummingbird swoops in for a visit at close range–you just have to see it for yourself to believe it! After almost two full days of birding, we will return to our hotel in Quito to continue with the main tour, or for international flights out.

TANDAYAPA BIRD LODGE (two days/one night)
Two days birding the subtropics of the west slope out of comfortable Tandayapa Bird Lodge. Hummingbirds and tanagers will dazzle you, not to mention a nice selection of mid-elevation Chocó endemics. Please contact our office for pricing.

The Tandayapa Bird Lodge overnight (pre-/post-tour) trip is a great way to become acquainted with the birds of the upper and middle elevations of the west slope, all within easy striking distance of Quito. Aside from excellent chances of seeing Plate-billed Mountain-Toucan, Golden-headed Quetzal, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, and head-spinning tanager flocks, the hummingbirds are what really shine! The lodge at Tandayapa has some of the most productive feeders anywhere, with an impressive diversity… but beware, you may find it hard to pry yourself away from them! Most of the birding is easy and done by strolling along forested roadsides, away from main roads, but there is also the option for some trail birding behind the lodge. After almost two full days of birding, we will return to our hotel in Quito to continue with the main tour, or for international flights out.

Extensions of more nights or to different destinations (southern and coastal Ecuador, Sacha, or any other lowland lodge) can also be arranged upon request.

CULTURAL DAY TRIPS

Prices valid for 2016 departures.

CITY TOUR OR EQUATOR MONUMENT plus lunch (5 hours)
Guided drive and stroll through the colonial center of Quito. Includes visits to historical churches, Independence Square, a monastery with a private museum, and the arts & crafts gallery of Tianguez, where a lunch sampling typical cuisine will be served.

Includes: Bilingual cultural guide, transportation, lunch and entrances.

Fee: $225 per person for 1 participant; $ 175 per person for 2; $145 per person for 3; and $130 per person for 4.

CITY TOUR AND EQUATOR MONUMENT plus lunch (6 hours)
Guided drive and stroll through the colonial center of Quito (approx. 3 hours) with a drive and visit to the north of Quito where we will visit the Equator Monument and museum.

Includes: Bilingual cultural guide, transportation, entrances and lunch.

Fee: $260 per person for 1 participant; $195 per person for 2; $170 per person for 3; and $150 per person for 4.

VISIT TO THE QUITO BOTANICAL GARDEN (2 hours)
The Quito Botanical Garden, in the heart of Parque Carolina, serves as a nice introduction to some of the more common Central Valley birds, as well as some interesting migrants (during the right season). Regularly seen species include Great Thrush, Sparkling Violetear, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Black Flowerpiercer, Cinereous Conebill, Blue-and-yellow Tanager, Scrub Tanager, and Golden Grosbeak. Giant Hummingbird can sometimes be seen in and around the gardens as well, while rarities such as Stygian Owl have even been known to turn up on dayroosts from time to time.

Includes: Bilingual cultural guide, transportation.

Fee: $90 per person for 1 participant; $55 per person for 2; $40 per person for 3; and $30 per person for 4.

CITY TOUR PLUS QUITO BOTANICAL GARDEN plus lunch (6 hours)
Guided drive and stroll through the colonial center of Quito (approx. 3 hours) with a drive and visit to the Quito Botanical Garden.

Includes: Bilingual cultural guide, transportation, entrances and lunch.

Fee: $225 per person for 1 participant; $175 per person for 2; $145 per person for 3; and $130 per person for 4.

FULL DAY AT OTAVALO MARKET AND SURROUNDINGS plus lunch (8 hours)
This trip visits the famous Otavalo Market as well as the town of Cotacachi, known for its high-quality leather goods. An optional visit to Cuicocha Lake can be included; lunch in a typical nearby hacienda.

Includes: Bilingual cultural guide, transportation, lunch.

Fee: $300 per person for 1 participant; $220 per person for 2; $195 per person for 3, and $175 per person for 4.

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